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Park Slope neighbors and businesses fundraise for Ukraine

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Park Slope businesses and organizations are banding together to fundraise for Ukraine.
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More than 50 Park Slope businesses and charities are coming together to support Ukraine.

Locals are organizing cake sales, auctions and fundraising marches to collect donations for humanitarian aid in the Western European war zone. After two weeks of ongoing armed conflict, many Ukrainian shelters are running out of food, medication and diapers, according to reports from European organizations.

Brooklynites began standing in solidarity with the war-torn country the same day news on the Russian invasion broke.

On Feb. 24, Park Slope pâtisserie Madeline The Baker took to social media to announce that all profits from that week’s production would be donated to support the Ukrainian army and relief efforts. Order requests went up 60 percent by the middle week.

“I had been glued to the news and felt so hopeless,” said business owner Madeline Kiss. “When I realized I had a platform I could use to fundraise, I threw together a quick story and posted it. By March 1, I had to start turning down requests. I wish I could’ve taken on more.”

Kiss’ initiative and her clients’ response inspired other local shop owners to follow suit. A whopping 50 businesses, including coffee brewery Blank Street, Miss Mona Makes Ice Cream and the ballet academy Tutu School, are participating in an online auction organized by Park Slope Living, an Instagram page focused on where to visit in the busy Brooklyn nabe.

Together thus far, the Slopers have raised more than $7,000 — 100 percent of which will go to Razom, a New York based pro-Ukraine organization founded in 2014.

The auction — set to close March 12 — offers bidders exclusive experiences and goods, like a clay modeling class for two that’s already gotten 20 bids, and a 14k gold ring in the shape of a matchstick by Nora Kogan Jewelry that’s raised $650.

Among other rare finds is a signed copy of the new, currently sold-out cookbook by Hetty Lui McKinnon, recipe author at The New York Times, Bon Appetit and Food & Wine. Owners of Park Slope Italian favorite Pasta Louise are even offering a dinner for two at their new Eighth Avenue location before it opens to the public.

“It’s such a small thing that we can gladly do,” said Allison Arevalo, owner of Pasta Louise. “We do auctions for different causes every year and we are always surprised by how participative people are and how well they react. It is very encouraging.”

Meanwhile, others have called on the community to show empathy in different ways.

The parents’ association at PS 39 The Henry Bristow School is collecting donations for Ukraine and organizing a family march for peace. The kid-friendly rally will tour the neighborhood on Friday, March 11 at 3 pm, kicking off at the Sixth Avenue school.

Members of the parents’ association hope the march will be both inspirational and educational.

“Teachers are getting a lot of questions from kids about what’s going on,” member Andrea Margulies told Brooklyn paper. “I am being very upfront with my kid. I give him bullet points on the situation because I’m trying not to scare him, but we try to raise awareness on social justice so that they can grow up to be active on it.”

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